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Ask H&H: German abbreviations

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Q: What do the German colour abbreviations mean when reading a horse’s pedigree or bloodline?
LM, Flintshire

German breeders use the following abbreviations to describe a horse’s colouring:

• bay = b (short for braun)

• dark brown = schwb (schwartzbraun)

• brown bay = db (dunkelbraun)

• chestnut = f (fuchs)

• dark chestnut = df (dunkelfuchs)

• black = r (rappe)

• grey = sch (schimmel)

In addition, S is used to indicate a mare (short for stute or stutfohlen), and H is used to indicate an ungelded male (short for hengst or hengstfohlen).

The abbreviation “stm” may be used to indicate height measured with a stick (stockmass in German).

Thus, you may see a horse described as: “Brown Dancer, Schwb H, born 2000, Stm. 165cm.” This describes a nine-year-old, 16.1hh, dark brown stallion.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (12 November, ’09)

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